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Don't Believe All You Read !
Wednesday, 27th Nov 2019 09:38

Saints fans were again up in arms yesterday after a media report saying Saints had little funds for the January transfer window, despite conflicting reports linking them with all and sundry, there is a moral here!

Perhaps the saddest thing in the fans generated media surrounding football clubs these days, is the number of fans websites that write stories with the headlines "These fans" or "Some Fans" short stories based almost entirely on reproducing a few twitter or instagram messages from supporters.

Although of course most people producing fan run websites myself included are not professional journalists and doing this in our spare time, there is no excuse for what is lazy shoddy journalism based on a few comments on news stories which in the main have no real foundation anyway.

An example of this is a story that broke yesterday in the Telegraph written by the reliable ex Daily Echo man Jeremy Wilson.

Wilson covering the appointment of Matt Crocker focused heavily on the Southampton Way aspect and the fact that the club had recognised that it had lost it's way of late and was refocusing on getting back on track.

This should have been positive news, but the following paragraphs sent some Saints fans into fits of rage.

"The club is now majority owned by the Chinese Gao family and there has been no sign that they will make significant additional financial investments, meaning that Southampton’s ongoing status in the Premier League will be heavily dependent on a level of coaching and recruitment excellence that was previously held up as an example for English football. "

This should not have been news to Saints supporters, this is the blueprint that has been in place since Markus Liebherr first arrived at the club, it has to be self financing and the club are also very loathe to spend in the January window due to it's over inflated prices as clubs panic buy.

Headlines with the titles "Help" "We're Dead" taken from social media posts only serve to stir up the situation and make some take one line in the story out of context.

It would be a very stupid football club who would announce to the World that they are at panic stations and desperately needed to spend in the transfer window, this would only drive up prices and player wage demands, the savvy clubs keep their mouths shut apart from quiet hints in the press that they aren't concerned about their position and don't feel they need to spend.

This is the right way to do it, but it doesn't help the fan base who then go into meltdown and start screaming about a lack of ambition etc etc.

Interestingly the next paragraph in the story says:

"Southampton are still also intending to appoint a specialist in player trading, although Ralph Hasenhuttl will be limited in his January budget and will largely need to turn Southampton’s season around with his existing squad"

Now we are getting to the bare bones, so despite trying to give the impression that there is no money in one sentence in the next the article confirms that the club are looking to recruit in January but the budget will be limited.

That again should not be news to Saints fans, but it should be news greeted with joy not derision, there have been no fan site headlines with "Phew" "Thank God For That" in response.

The article by Jeremy Wilson is balanced and informative, but it is a story that you need to read between the lines a lot of the time, it is setting fans expectations low and pointing out that the club is aware of the problems but are not going to buy their way out of it, at least not by spending money they don't have.

The reality is that our squad is let down by poor defending yet and yet again, some will bemoan missed chances at Arsenal, but the real issue was slack defending literally every time the Gunners got in a decent position, it is criminal that in the 96th minute we leave a man totally unmarked at the far post, the culprits are old enough to know better and are never going to learn now, so change is needed.

The club know that they need to sign a centre back in January, they know that they have a limited budget, but that does not mean they they can't find a quality player within that budget and to be frank no one knows what that budget is, only the club and they are not telling anyone, they are playing their cards close to their chest.

Supporters should be heartened on this it is telling them that mistakes are being rectified, that some money will or rather could be spent in the transfer window and that we are getting back to the ways that led us to success in the first place.

These ways served Markus well and indeed his daughter Katharina when she took over and oversaw the most successful time in terms of top flight finishes and getting to major finals and Europe.

There are those who dismiss Kat, Ralph Krueger and even Les Reed, but they all played major parts in the success of Saints in the last 5 years and many do not give them credit for that.

For Saints the Southampton Way has always been about self sufficiency to be able to spend big, since the days of Ted Bates it has always been about developing youth players selling them on and repeating the process, we do not have the resources to do anything else, even if Gao did want to invest heavily then Financial Fair Play rules make that difficult to do.

So don't believe all you read and read it well, journalists close to the club will be putting a spin on it that the club wants, that is the way things work, others will just put up stories designed to shock and create page hits and social media comments.

The 100% truth is even if Saints intended spending £50 million in this transfer window, then they would not say anything different to what is coming out now, no club would, and let's be honest the club has not said anything other than it has appointed Matt Crocker, the meltdown is coming on the back of what has been reported in the news not from the club.

We have to sit back and see what happens, perhaps we won't like it, perhaps we will, but remember money is not always the answer as several big spending clubs who got relegated last year found out, the best clubs are built on solid foundations and hopefully we are getting back to those.

Gao has made mistakes, but they are mistakes in whom he has appointed and their subsequent actions which has left the club without experienced men in charge, that is now changing.

The next month is crucial it needs it's supporters, those that will get behind it, it needs a supportive atmosphere to play in, it does not need it to be toxic otherwise that will drag it down.

This is not happy clapping, it is about seeing what can be done and what can't, our first priority is to keep the team in the Premier League, then the rest can be tackled.

Photo: Action Images



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arfurdent added 10:10 - Nov 27
so basically totally fooked
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DorsetIan added 10:21 - Nov 27
"It would be a very stupid football club who would announce to the World that they are at panic stations and desperately needed to spend in the transfer window, this would only drive up prices and player wage demands, the savvy clubs keep their mouths shut apart from quiet hints in the press that they aren't concerned about their position and don't feel they need to spend."

That's fine but there's the small matter of our position in the league, our pathetic defending for many many months (0-9 anyone?) and the fact that the world and his wife already know that we are in desperate need of a central defender.

To pretend that we don't feel we need to spend is more King Canute than savvy.
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ericofarabia added 10:32 - Nov 27
Nice use of King Canute reference Dorset!! Very apt!
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TimSaint added 11:00 - Nov 27
Ridiculous to just blame the defence. It is the whole team at fault.
If you want to be blunt, our attackers should have scored 3 or 4 more, then the last minute goal doesn't matter.
Stephens was at fault for the first - committing to his man up the field and then just trotting back despite being out of position, hence Aubameyang was left unmarked.
The 2nd goal should have been closed down from midfield, Cedric gave him too much space, showed him the outside but didn't cut out the cross and McCarthy flapped it on to the person who scored - as he did away to Man City !!
Whatever happens in January, we have needed a decent CB who can organise the defence, for the last, what 6, windows ?
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TimSaint added 11:00 - Nov 27
Ridiculous to just blame the defence. It is the whole team at fault.
If you want to be blunt, our attackers should have scored 3 or 4 more, then the last minute goal doesn't matter.
Stephens was at fault for the first - committing to his man up the field and then just trotting back despite being out of position, hence Aubameyang was left unmarked.
The 2nd goal should have been closed down from midfield, Cedric gave him too much space, showed him the outside but didn't cut out the cross and McCarthy flapped it on to the person who scored - as he did away to Man City !!
Whatever happens in January, we have needed a decent CB who can organise the defence, for the last, what 6, windows ?
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I_would added 11:08 - Nov 27
At least Kat loaned us £60m when we were in the s**t.
3

DorsetIan added 12:32 - Nov 27
That's a good point about Kat's loan.

Even if the club has a policy of balancing the books, the restriction of having to actually sell before we can buy causes it's own headaches. Particularly, because it puts any buyer who knows we are desperate for the cash to buy new players in a much much stronger position. (just look at how the Danso purchase was pushed right to the wire as we had to wait for other deals to complete - the purchasers knew were were desperate so played hardball). Every business needs adequate liquidity if it wants to be in a position to respond quickly to changing needs.

But we shouldn't really blame Gao. I don't think the poor chap has got any cash to lend us and I also no longer believe that he really 'owns' the club.

3

Colburn added 14:18 - Nov 27
Standard comments from a football club. I agree Nick it means very little, keeping our cards close to our chest.. Btw Arsenal have only lost at Annfield this season.. Shows our display is an improvement on previous games and will give them confidence going in to the next 2 six pointers..
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TimSaint added 16:47 - Nov 27
Colburn - Arsenal have also (only) lost away to Sheffield United and Leicester this season and have drawn a large number of games.
They are not the force of old and were there for the taking. Definitely 2 points dropped and further points given up from winning positions.
2

redandwhitedee added 22:20 - Nov 27
So boring to read you yet again placing full blame on our defence. What about the lack of midfield protection in front of them ? What about our strikers missing chance after chance.. ? What about the manager playing right-footed midfielders at left back.. ?
What about managers / directors repeatedly spending fortunes on strikers who cannot hit a barn door.
Our problem for years now has been a lack of goals and wrong player selections.
1

saintmark1976 added 00:20 - Nov 28
Perhaps you have somewhat answered your own headline Nick? I gave up believing most of what you suggest in support of the club's owners methods and intentions months ago. At present we are a shambles having won only two out of the last eighteen Premiership games plus losing a record 9-0 at home. However, you continue to suggest it's not the owners fault but that responsiblity rests with everyone else except them, even suggesting some blame rest with us fans for not singing loud enough!
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underweststand added 11:46 - Nov 28
It's easy to agree with Jeremy Wilson's article and some of Nick's points, too) but in truth THAT particular storyline could have been written about half-a-dozen other clubs in the bottom end of the Prem. Too many big money "failures" and little more spend now.

Pumping money into a club to allow them to buy "sub-standard " talents is common to many clubs when it takes big fees to bring in players who looked good at one club, but quickly become "square pegs " in their new club set-up in the PL.
Saints have been criticised by some here for scouting players who "only" cost £5 million but this is a poor indictment - even before they pull on a Saints shirt. Those fans with longer memories would agree that the vast majority of " better players" we've seen over the last 40 years...cost relatively small fees /or /were "home grown " in the Saints youth football of their day, whereas barely a handful of the record signings came anywhere near fulfilling the promise and expense of employing them.
In the last 10 years.. just compare the likes of; Fonte, Lambert, Lallana, Bale, Walcott, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Clyne, Shaw, Pelle and Mane against the catastrophic signings of ; Ramirez, Osvaldo, Hoedt, Lemína, and Carrillo whose fees and salaries have set the club back over £100 million with little more to show for it.
(I'll refrain from adding Elyounoussi, Boufal and Adams to that list, but unless they start to deliver performances they may soon join the list of failures for fans to moan about.)
Whatever level of "success" Ross Wilson is judged by - he must surely have had a say in their signings, something he won't want to own up to so quickly.
Meantime let those who run their own site from a computer in their bedroom get some reality into their reporting and leave out the sensational headlines.
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wibbersda added 12:36 - Nov 28
You can't win Nick. For me, you always give a balanced and evidential column. I also fail to see how Gao is the problem and feel people are panicked and looking for blame.
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underweststand added 11:12 - Nov 29
My comments above didn't include Nick's contribution ,(btw) as I often agree with much that he writes (except perhaps his ongoing condemnation of Maja Yoshida) but some of " the other sites" who purport to speak for" Saints' fans" often produce Fake News that borders on schoolboy criticism, and have the whole club on "suicide watch ".

I'm sure that if one accesses the record of some other Prem. clubs it can be seen that they too have made "bad buys" and have paid the ultimate price. Fulham spent +£100 million prior to last season before dropping back to the Championship, and Aston Villa may suffer a similar fate this season unless they find some form very soon.


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